Pender School Board proposes potential $67M Bond Referendum - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Pender School Board proposes potential $67 Million Bond Referendum


A potential bond referendum is in the works for Pender County. Thursday night, members of the Pender County School Board presented the idea to Pender County Commissioners.

School officials said the proposal is for a potential $67 million bond referendum. It would help pay for improvements at county schools and help schools accommodate the growing number of students in the county. Officials said nothing is concrete and the potential bond referendum is still in the discussion stages.

Pender County Commissioner Fred McCoy said in the proposal that was presented to him, $14 million would go towards upgrades and a new building at Penderlea Elementary/Middle School. The Vice Chairman said the proposal he heard included turning the school into an elementary school.

According to McCoy, middle schoolers would then be sent to either Burgaw Middle School or West Pender Middle School. School officials say this is only a potential option. McCoy said he has concerns with this option and has also received calls from concerned parents.

"I've had a lot of parents from Penderlea school call me," McCoy said. "They are concerned. They feel like they will lose something in their community when these kids are bussed out 15 or 20 miles away. It's going to break up the closeness of that age children in the community."

McCoy said the area surrounding Penderlea is a very close knit community and many parents are involved in the school. He said he is worried that would change if the middle schoolers were moved. McCoy said he wants to keep the school K-8.

"It's really a good community school, so I'm concerned about how it's going to impact that school."

According to him, the potential bond referendum would also fund renovations and/or additions at the following schools

  • $3.1 million to Burgaw Middle School
  • $2.5 million to West Pender Middle School
  • $6,673,688 to Cape Fear Elementary and Middle School
  • $5,969,120 to Pender High School
  • $34,102,000 to a new Elementary and Middle School in the Surf City/Topsail Area.

McCoy said many schools in the southern and eastern part of the county are already over capacity and more classrooms are needed. The Vice Chairman said commissioners will look at this potential proposal very carefully to decide how to best help the growing county.

McCoy said he does have concerns about keeping the county's credit rating and bottom line in check and wants to make sure money is allocated in the best possible way. He said in order for a referendum to make it on the November ballot, the Board of Commissioners would have to approve a bond referendum by early July.

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